Back in the '80's, we were in central and southern Spain, visiting all those sites that we learned about in junior high school. But now it was now time to have fun as we started in Barcelona and motored though northern Spain.
We arrived in Barcelona on Saturday morning--flea market day. Of course, there are lots of other things to do there. Famous for its artisitic style, we visited the Miro museum where Judie made a new friend. You simply cannot escape the architecture of the city. The second most famous designer was Muntener (a long lost relative) who even has a subway stop named after him. But Gaudy dominates the scene. The park that bears his name has the reprentative whimsey and curves. In town, you can tour the famous apartment house designed by Gaudy. From its roof you can see the Sagrada Familia church. Just a short train ride away is Montserrat with its cathedral of the black Madonna set high up on the mountain. But before going out of town we visited the food market to get ready for the rest of our trip.
Heading northwest, our goal was Bilbao. Aside from have a close encounter with a pickpocket in San Sebastian (an exciting fifteen seconds with wallet and all contents recovered), the highlight was the Gugenheim musuem. Its architecture and giant flower covered puppy were impressive but look small from a distance.
From there it was off to the heart of the Basques. We were a week late for the running of the bulls but we traversed the very same cobblestone street. In front of the bull ring, there was a trip to 'Papa' Hemingway. That night we stayed in the parador in Leon which was used in the 15th century as a monestary.
Instead of going directly to Salamanca, the famous university town, we made a six hundred mile 'side trip' to Santiago de Compostela. The noted destination of pilgrims who walk hundreds of miles, its cathedral is reputed to hold the remains of St. James. While Salamanca has its share of cathedrals and monestaries (including one that sell candy), it Plaza Mayor was the center of activity.
Our last stop was Segovia. Impressive palaces and gardens just could not compare with the 2,000 year old Roman aquaduct. You can see the outdoor dining at its base where we had suckling pig that night.